Melbourne to Launceston (M2L)
The newest prize for Australia’s oldest ocean race.
A prize in yachting? Yes prize. Break the Kidder Williams Melbourne to Launceston record of 19 hours, 55 minutes and 43 seconds and earn yourself $1000.00!
This year, the grand old Centurion of Australian yachting is 102 and it was back in 2003 when Cadibarra (VIII) set that record for the Kidder Williams M2L race. Plenty of large and fast things have tried to nail the “Dash across the Paddock”, as this 198nm course is often referred to, but just cannot get better than around 22 hours elapsed time. So, on December 27, the desire to get out of Port Phillip’s Heads and onto to the top of Tasmania will be even stronger. Lately, our Southern States would seem to have already had enough breeze to last them all the way to Christmas! Accordingly, you would think that there really is a chance of someone actually scooping up The Cash for The Dash!
Now as if that wasn’t enough, the winner will also get to hold up the splendiferous “Rudder Cup”. It was so named, because the then Editor of the auspicious American magazine ‘Rudder’ proffered this very impressive 60 Guinea trophy as the prize for a race across our world-renowned Bass Strait. Don’t believe me? Then just have a look at the pic.
The man in question was one Thomas Fleming Day and he had a friend who was the Commodore at the Geelong Yacht Club at the time - T. A. Dickson. Apparently, they wanted to promote the sport of yachting and I think we'd have to say it worked. The inaugural race of 1907 used the same course as today - Port Phillip Heads to Low Head at the mouth of the Tamar River. A 48foot yawl named ‘Thistle' won that race. Interestingly, she was skippered by one Edgar Newland, who had his wife and daughter onboard as part of the crew. By account, Bass Strait served up some its most delightful conditions, with Mrs Newland refusing to relinquish the Rudder Cup for future races, in an effort to dissuade other crews from attempting such a "treacherous crossing", as she put it. Alas, as history is her judge, that did not work. No one actually ever said sailors were smart people I might add... However, it would be the 60's before the "Rudder Cup" would make its way back into the hands of the winning yachties, so it is fair to say that Mrs Newland did indeed have some success.
During the 2008 Kidder Williams M2L Race, the Murray 41 and former Sydney to Hobart overall winner, previously known as ‘Terra Firma’, now ‘Mocean’, was well and truly in the lead. However, when she as unable to partake in a radio sked, she had to retire and return home. Tough luck for sure, but the ORCV’s rules are in place to ensure it’s always “safety first”. That left the Adams 12 ‘Turbo’ to have a classic tussle with the J44 ‘The Secretary’, all the way to the line. ‘Turbo’ won out in the end and that cost George Shaw even more bottles of red. What is also quite unique about this event is that it forms part of the three race, ‘Rudder Cup Series’, which is completed over five days, in very different waters. Crews will have completed three long races, all requiring different skills, starting with the ‘Cock of the Bay’ on Port Phillip, then the M2L and finally the TasPorts Cup race in and around Low Head. Last year, the ‘Rudder Cup Series’ title was won by ‘The Secretary’, with ‘Turbo’, ‘Mrs Overnewton’, ‘Slinky Malinky’ and ‘Mirrabooka’ also featuring in the different divisions.
Finally then, once you’re there, the Tamar Yacht Club has a great new clubhouse for everyone to relax in and the views from Beauty Point, really are a wonder of natural beauty. No doubt someone will either be shouting the bar with his or her winnings or making a great donation to a deserving charity, which is exactly the way it should be after any maritime voyage.
By John Curnow